For almost 50 years, Hoffmann + Krippner has been developing and producing individual operating units and flexible printed electronics alongside sophisticated smart, networked sensor applications and HMI solutions. The family-run, internationally oriented company, is considered one of the market leaders for complex operating units, manufacturing capacitive keyboards, sensors, front panels and touch systems in the German Rhine-Neckar region. Their base is more than 7,000 m² with 250 employees.
The target markets are diverse and include the automotive industry, medical technology, mechanical engineering, environmental technology and the mobility sector (agricultural and construction machinery as well as railroad technology). In the automotive sector, the sensors are used in multifunction steering wheels.
The company searched for a reliable solution to meet customer requirements in the automotive sector while producing qualitatively in 2- and 3-shift operation.
The capacitive sensors consist of a protective laminate (PET film) with a 75 µm conductor foil and various layers of adhesive and reinforcing films with pure acrylic adhesive. These sensors are created in a sheet format must be separated, with the "clean" cut of these thin foils is a particularly important factor in order to avoid "bleeding" of the adhesive at the edges.
Laser technology was quickly identified as the optimal production technology. Compared to a cutting plotter or a die-cutting machine, laser technology is convincing thanks to the non-contact process. Clean laser cut edges can be achieved with contamination reduced, eliminating the need for time-consuming surface cleaning or post-processing. Even the most filigree cutting contours are feasible with laser technology.
In order to achieve the desired quantity in addition to the production quality, a suitable partner was sought. However, the "standard devices" available on the market were not sufficient to meet their requirements, with the company contacting Trotec Laser for a suitable solution.
The technical competence at Trotec already impressed us during the preliminary talks. The speed and above all the precision of the cutter convinced us. Thanks to the laser solution from Trotec with a fully automated shuttle table and the special tool holder, we were able to increase our productivity by 60% compared to the previous laser processing. With Trotec we chose a supplier who offered us a complete process and not just a system. Due to the close cooperation during the 6-month delivery period, the originally specified process quality was even exceeded.
Detailed tests and on-site demonstrations were carried out directly at the Trotec production site in Markdorf near Lake Constance, Germany.
Based on the SpeedMarker series, Trotec offers modular adaptation or complete special solutions. This includes a laser system for cutting printed electronic circuits was designed as a dual shuttle table system with a loading and unloading system that can also be automated.
The tool carriers of the installed system are suitable for different components or multiple parts up to a size of 450 x 630 mm. Thanks to the high-precision VTTL camera (camera coupled via the beam path), which has already been successfully used in the watch industry, position and scaling deviations are detected and corrected. Hoffmann + Krippner thus achieves contour cuts with accuracies in the low hundredths range in the important area of connectors.
Compared to the previous production process, not only has the cutting speed been increased fivefold, but the cut quality of the edges has also been significantly improved. Thanks to special fixtures with a suction concept, there are no longer any visible traces of dust, and only the smallest of ruffles can be felt on the edges. This was achieved by a very fine focus width and a CO2 wavelength adapted to the application.
Trotec offers a very large product portfolio of different laser engraving, marking and cutting solutions - Made in Austria. The location in Markdorf, Germany, which is specially geared to industrial lasers, is an optimal contact partner if, for example, high quantities have to be processed with short cycle times, or the parts to be marked are very large. There, one offers individually adapted, up to fully automated laser solutions.